NewsMedical spoke with Christian Grosser, Director of the MEDICA and COMPAMED trade fairs occurring in Düsseldorf this November. In this interview, we discuss the significance of trade shows in the healthcare industry and what MEDICA has to offer attendees.
Please can you introduce yourself and tell us about your role at MEDICA / MEDICAlliance?
My name is Christian Grosser and as Director I am responsible for the MEDICA and COMPAMED trade fairs at the Düsseldorf location. In this function, I also coordinate Messe Düsseldorf's worldwide medical trade fair activities, which we market uniformly under the umbrella brand MEDICAlliance.
MEDICA is a part of MEDICAlliance, which brings medical trade shows to a global audience by providing conferences and resources worldwide. What are the ambitions of MEDICAlliance and MEDICA that have led to such a globally-minded approach?
In addition to the leading global trade fairs MEDICA and COMPAMED, which bring together visitors from 150 nations and exhibitors from around 70 countries at the Düsseldorf location every year, our approach is to also offer companies in the medical technology industry and the healthcare sector suitable platforms for good business in other booming continental and regional markets. Here, for the benefit of our exhibitors, we contribute all our expertise and decades of experience in marketing and staging healthcare events, incidentally building on a global network of foreign representatives and subsidiaries.
Image Credit: Messe Düsseldorf/ctillmann
MEDICA was first established in 1969 and, since then, has been bringing together global experts to accelerate healthcare. Since your first trade fair, how has the healthcare industry changed?
As in other industries, the healthcare business has become much more international and market structures have also changed. Companies in the medical technology industry are active in many more countries than in earlier years. This also means that they are entering into cooperation across national borders with regard to the manufacture and distribution of devices and products.
At the same time, the intensity of competition has increased. This is because the healthcare market has been a competitive growth market for many years, based on an ageing society combined with increasing prosperity in the industrial nations and most emerging countries. This results in price pressure on the one hand, but also in an increased orientation towards innovation on the other hand, in order to be able to (at least partially) escape too tough price competition through product performance, equipment and especially customer-oriented service.
On the demand side, there has been a concentration in many countries. In Germany, for example, the number of clinics is declining. At the same time, public hospitals are mostly organised in large purchasing groups and private hospital groups have also become important market players. A comparable situation can be observed in the laboratory sector. A high proportion of services is handled by a manageable number of large laboratories. All this is also reflected in the development of medical trade fairs.
Strong visitor growth has given way to an increased decision-maker orientation. The professional audience that comes to our events combines more decision-making authority and arrives with much more concrete interest in certain topics than was the case in earlier years. The so-called "general walk-in audience" is therefore becoming less and less common; instead, targeted business is in demand with the right partners and suppliers.
How does MEDICA, the World Forum for Medicine hosted in Düsseldorf this November, foster research and innovation with its promotion of the latest technologies and companies?
MEDICA is not just a pure product show. A varied programme of accompanying conferences and specialist forums integrated into the trade fair ensures that current trends and news from research, science, politics and companies are examined more closely and discussed in an exchange of experts. One example is the MEDICA CONNECTED HEALTHCARE FORUM, which includes two exciting pitch competitions for the start-up scene: the MEDICA START-UP COMPETITION and the "Healthcare Innovation World Cup".
Image Credit: Messe Düsseldorf/ctillmann
In addition, with our new digital format MEDICA DEEP DIVE, we have already focused on particularly relevant trend topics in moderated online discussion rounds in the run-up to the trade fair. These included, for example, the diagnosis of infectious diseases, current innovations and developments in the field of point-of-care diagnostics or "Artificial Intelligence/Big Data in Medical Applications".
In 2021, you had over 3,000 exhibitors from over 70 countries. What medical product categories or services does MEDICA forefront through its exhibitors and conferences?
MEDICA and the parallel supplier trade fair COMPAMED, in their globally unique combination, offer the trade a comprehensive overview of the latest medical products and services for modern treatment in doctors' surgeries and clinics, including all relevant process steps of product development and manufacturing. The main segments of the MEDICA trade fair are Laboratory Technology and Diagnostics, Medical Technology and Electromedicine (Imaging and Diagnostics/ Medical Equipment and Devices), Consumer Goods and Consumables, Physiotherapy and Orthopaedic Technology as well as IT Systems and IT Solutions.
Who do you believe would benefit from attending MEDICA?
Exhibiting companies as well as the visiting trade public benefit equally from participating in MEDICA. After all, it is precisely now, in turbulent times, that the medical technology industry needs strong platforms for important exchange, cooperation and business. Companies currently have an increased need to coordinate supply and manufacturing partnerships to ensure their own ability to deliver in times of sharply rising prices and scarce components. The trade public also gets an overview of current trends, innovations and reliable procurement options.
Registration and Tickets for MEDICA 2022
MEDICA 2022 is being held in Germany, a country with a growing medical technology economy. Despite Europe being crucial to the acceleration of the medical sector, a positive investment infrastructure is needed to continue its growth. What more should governments and policymakers be doing to continue Europe’s success within the medical technology space?
Apart from important cross-sectoral frameworks (e.g. ensuring an affordable energy supply), the increasingly complex product approval procedure in the EU is seen by industry associations as a growth risk. It increasingly prevents smaller and medium-sized companies from entering the market at all or from expanding existing market activities.
As well as your international trade fairs, you also offer a wide variety of resources on your website, including a magazine, weekly newsletter, and hot monthly topics. Why do you choose to offer your customers such a wide variety of resources free of charge on your site?
The goals are manifold. First and foremost, of course, is "community building". The greater the reach of our industry portals for MEDICA and COMPAMED in the relevant target groups, the more our exhibitors will benefit. When they participate in our trade fairs, they book more than just square metres. They can present themselves in the database of this community with their exhibitor profile, which offers various functions.
The matchmaking tool should also be mentioned. Here, our exhibitors are brought together with suitable people from the community in terms of interest in the search for products and services. And beyond that, the community forms the core of the trade audience, which literally has a presence at runtime. The dovetailing of digital content and services with the trade fair's offerings is what ultimately determines the relevance and acceptance of the event from the perspective of the relevant target groups. In this sense, free content pays off.
Image Credit: Messe Düsseldorf/ctillmann
Why do you believe in-person trade shows and conferences are so significant to the medical field?
We have all experienced through the Corona pandemic the importance of personal encounters and the "real" live experience. People feel with all their senses. New products can be tried out directly at a trade fair and a direct face-to-face conversation creates a completely different basis of trust than encounters in the digital space. In addition, chance encounters broaden one's horizons and can be of enormous value.
What is next for MEDICA?
After the event is before the event. The trade fair runtime is followed by a precise evaluation of all results and, based on this, we are continuously working on updates to the programme in line with current trends and developments in visitor interest. By the way, with the conclusion of MEDICA 2022, the registration phase for next year's MEDICA begins again. But for now, the MEDICA team is looking forward to exciting trade fair days with many interesting encounters at MEDICA 2022.
Where can readers find more information?
https://www.medica-tradefair.com / https://twitter.com/MEDICATradeFair / https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/medica-international-trade-fair/
About Christian Grosser
Christian Grosser holds a degree in economics, is well-connected in the medical technology industry and has a lot of international professional experience. Grosser started his professional career at Messe Düsseldorf in 2008 as a trainee. He then held various sales-oriented management positions in Germany and initial project management positions abroad at the subsidiaries Messe Düsseldorf China (Shanghai) and Messe Düsseldorf India. In 2016, he returned to Germany and took on management responsibility as Deputy Director Health & Medical Technologies alongside Horst Giesen. When Horst Giesen retired, Christian Grosser became Director Health & Medical Technologies and has since headed the team for MEDICA and COMPAMED as well as the MEDICAlliance umbrella brand.